Do you want to set up an internship programme for your small business? Your line of thought is nothing new. More and more small businesses are planning to hire interns for the advantages it brings to their companies. In fact, there is a quantum increase around the world in college students being hired for summer internships. It is also a smart hiring strategy and complements your full time hiring process. Studies have shown that almost 90% of student interns would accept an offer from their internship employer for a full time job in that business.
However, before setting up an internship programme for your small business, a lot of careful thought has to be given to it if you want to make it meaningful for both the intern and your business. An intern will be looking to gain exposure to a business environment before going for a full time job and so you have to offer something that meets those aspirations.
Here are a few guidelines that you will do well to follow.
Evaluate your needs
Before setting up the programme, you have to evaluate your needs. How can an intern further your business goals and objectives? Do you have enough work to support an internship programme both in the short and long term? Do you have an experienced employee who can mentor and supervise the intern?
It is essential that you structure training programmes for the intern so that it will be a good learning experience. Training should be an ongoing and continuous effort. For example if you are in the cleaning business in the State of Victoria, Australia, you will surely be catering to many sectors like domestic, commercial or industrial cleaning. Hence, you will be in a good position to impart knowledge on the intricacies of professional carpet cleaning in Melbourne as well as the many sides of commercial cleaning. Your objective should be to get the most out of your intern.
Hiring an intern might take several weeks and thus it is advisable that you plan out all these factors well in advance.
The Hiring Process
The hiring process of an intern is no different than that for a full time employee. You will need to assign real work that will be of help to both of you. Have clear cut objectives of the role that you want the intern to play in your business and who will be guiding the intern through the process. Decide how you want the intern to benefit financially from working with you and the kind of experience you want to give.
While looking for interns, you have several options.
Online searches where you can visit different Government sites that connect businesses with young people seeking internships. You can also post directly on job portals.
School and college career services departments that directly help potential interns connect with businesses. You should get your business registered with such services and have access to a pool of motivated and screened talent. It also makes sense to approach your old college as you will have ready references there. Go by the recommendations of professors and other staff members.
Payment to Interns
You have the option of paying your interns or choosing unpaid ones. However, by paying your interns, you will get the best talent which can become a part of your workforce in future. There are many limits on the work that you can allot to unpaid interns. For example, you cannot assign any work that contributes to your business operations. This includes filing papers, answering emails and documenting inventory. Further, the output of an unpaid intern is limited to only that which does not have a business need. Workers’ compensation insurance is also mandatory in certain States for interns.
Follow these guidelines to set up a meaningful internship programme for your small business.